A long-time addiction of my is silk - specifically spinning silk, and then weaving silk when I get enough spun and can bear to commit it to a project. I have several batches of unspun silk in various forms (caps, hankies, roving) dyed in various ways (I sometimes play at dye workshops) that I'm so in love with in their present form that I've been reluctant to actually spin … plus I know that when I sit down at the wheel with one of them, the world as we know it will fall away and I'll become completely absorbed.
This is all a long precursor to this linked video that I discovered, and that has captured my imagination.
I know that there are a few weavers and even a few spinners who read this on occasion, and I'm sure they've already seen this video. If so, it bears re-watching. If not, I'm hoping you'll also enjoy it.
Two things stand out in my memory from that event: Rita Buchanan (I took part in her master class after the conference and was totally in heaven) and a woman from the US, I'm thinking Pennsylvania, who taught a quilt design class but also gave a talk about indigo dyeing in Eastern Europe - and I'm having a total memory block on her name.
I found that listening to the talk and watching a slide show about indigo block dyeing was just as absorbing as this video about silk weaving. What is it about fibre and textile fabrication that so entrances me?
If you're hardcore like I am, you may have a copy of the book Women's Work: the First 20,000 Years. It's a big book that explores how archeological discoveries about textile arts reveal women's influential roles in society starting way back in early times.
Here's a review:
Shaped by cartoons and museum dioramas, our vision of Paleolithic times tends to feature fur-clad male hunters fearlessly attacking mammoths while timid women hover fearfully behind a boulder. In fact, recent research has shown that this vision bears little relation to reality.
The field of archaeology has changed dramatically in the past two decades, as women have challenged their male colleagues' exclusive focus on hard artifacts such as spear points rather than tougher to find evidence of women's work. J. M. Adovasio and Olga Soffer are two of the world's leading experts on perishable artifacts such as basketry, cordage, and weaving. In The Invisible Sex, the authors present an exciting new look at prehistory, arguing that women invented all kinds of critical materials, including the clothing necessary for life in colder climates, the ropes used to make rafts that enabled long-distance travel by water, and nets used for communal hunting. Even more important, women played a central role in the development of language and social life—in short, in our becoming human. In this eye-opening book, a new story about women in prehistory emerges with provocative implications for our assumptions about gender today.
See. I told you I wander and get lost.